The slots history begins with the appearance of the predecessor of the the slot machines which was a gambling machine that was developed by Sitman and Pitt in 1891. They were from Brooklyn and developed that gambling machine based on poker with 5 reels, containing 50 cards inside. This machine became widely popular and soon it could be found in almost every bar in New York. When the slots spinned, the slots players were hoping for a good poker hand.
There was no clear way for making the payments at that time, so the slots players could win a free beer, cigarettes, cigars or drinks. The owners of the bars usually took two cards out of the machine (a Ten and a Jack of different suits) in order to lower the chances for the players to get Royal Flush with 50%. They were also rearranging the cards in the reels in order to lower the chances of the slots players even more.
The first “one-armed bandit” was developed in San Francisco by Charles Fey in 1887. He created a much more simple automatic mechanism. Due to the big number of possible wins in the original game, based on the poker, it seemed absolutely impossible to make the slot machine payout all corresponding amounts depending on the winning combination. Charles Fey created his slot machine with three reels only, containing 5 different symbols. With his slot machine it was quite easy to define when the combination is winning and when it is not, and therefore it could payout the winnings automatically. The biggest amount one could win at that time was 50 cents.
The slot machine of Charles Fey got its huge success after it was put in the Flamingo Hilton hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada. Numerous bars, using these slot machines, were opened and became widely popular. Even after the ban of his slots machine in San Francisco in 1909, Fey still couldn’t fulfill all the orders he was receiving. Soon, in 1911, the slots machines were banned in the state of California.
In 1970s the companies started placing microchips with random number generators in the slot machines. These microchips determined the spin of the reels. By the 1980s, all casinos started using microchip slots.
Nowadays, most of the people play slots in online casinos from the comfort of their own homes instead of playing in crowded and stuffy casinos.